Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada

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The Aboriginal peoples in Canada Portal
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A life-sized bronze statue of an Aboriginal and eagle above him; there is  a bear to his right and a wolf to his left, they are all looking upwards towards a blue and white sky
The Canadian Aboriginal veterans monument
in Confederation Park, Ottawa.
Noel Lloyd Pinay, 2001.
Photo by Padraic Ryan ca. 2007.

In Section thirty-five of the 1982 Canadian Constitution Act, Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" are falling into disuse. Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are some of the earliest archaeological sites of human habitation in Canada. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano cultures and Pre-Dorset pre-date American indigenous and Inuit cultures. Projectile point tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels and scrapers mark archaeological sites, thus distinguishing cultural periods, traditions and lithic reduction styles.

Hundreds of Aboriginal nations evolved trade, spiritual and social hierarchies. The Métis culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and native Inuit married European settlers. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Aboriginal Right to Self-Government provides opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control aspects within first people's communities.

There are currently over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands encompassing 1,172,790 2006 peoples spread across Canada with distinctive Aboriginal cultures, languages, art, music and beliefs. National Aboriginal Day recognises the cultures and contributions of Aboriginals to the history of Canada. In all walks of life First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have become prominent figures serving as role models in the Aboriginal community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.

Atrapasueños-rafax2.JPG More about...Aboriginals in Canada, the peoples and diversity.

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Treaty 9 - also known as the "James Bay Treaty," since the eastern end of the affected treaty territory was at the shore of James Bay.

The numbered treaties (or Post-Confederation Treaties) are a series of eleven treaties signed between the aboriginal peoples in Canada and the reigning Monarch of Canada (Victoria, Edward VII or George V) from 1871 to 1921. It was the Government of Canada who created the policy, commissioned the Treaty Commissioners and ratified the agreements. These Treaties are agreements with the Government of Canada, administered by Canadian Aboriginal law and overseen by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Regions affected by the treaties include portions of what are now Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. When the Dominion of Canada was first formed in 1867 as a confederation of several British North American colonies, most of these regions were part of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory and were controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company.

The "National Dream" of Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, was to create a nation from sea to sea, tied together by the Canadian Pacific Railway. In order to make this dream a reality, the Government of Canada needed to settle the southern portions of Rupert's Land (present day Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan).

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A statue of Shanawdithit, at the Boyd's Cove Beothuk site in Newfoundland.

Shanawdithit (c. 1801 – June 6, 1829), also referred to as Shawnadithit, Shawnawdithit, and Nancy April, was the last recorded surviving member of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland, Canada. She died of tuberculosis on 6 June 1829 in St. John's. She was born circa 1801 near a large lake in Newfoundland. At the time, the population of the Beothuk was dwindling. Their traditional way of life was affected by the establishment of white settlements on the island. Their access to the sea, a major food source, was slowly being cut off. Trappers and furriers regarded the Beothuks as thieves and attacked them to keep them away. As a child, Shanawdithit was shot by a trapper while washing venison in a river, though she was not severely injured and recovered. The people suffered from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), introduced by European contact, to which they had no immunity and for which the Europeans had no cures or prevention. After the 1819 capture of Demasduwit, the aunt of Shanawdithit, the few remaining Beothuk people fled from the British.

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Ambroise-Dydime Lépine (18 March 1840 – 8 June 1923) was a military leader of the Métis under the command of Louis Riel during the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870. He was tried and sentenced to death for his role in the rebellion and for the execution of Thomas Scott, but his sentence was commuted by Governor General Lord Dufferin. He is buried in the churchyard of the St. Boniface Cathedral next to Riel.


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About seven out of 10 First Nations people live off a reserve, with almost a third of those living in large cities. Nearly 30 per cent live on reserves.

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1914 Panoramic View of Iroquois.jpg
"Iroquois." c1914. William Alexander Drennan, copyright claimant, 1914


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